Experience gives Aussies advantage, says Clarke

Barbados: Australia captain Michael Clarke believes his team`s superior big match experience will give them a "huge advantage" in Sunday`s Twenty20 World Cup final against England.

Seven of the likely Australian starting line-up have featured in a World Cup or Champions Trophy final while England skipper Paul Collingwood is the only from his team to have played such a game -- back in 2004.

"The guys who have taken part in big cricket matches -- it doesn`t necessarily have to be a final -- have a huge advantage," said Clarke.

"There were probably guys in our squad that were picked not only because they are great Twenty20 players but have experience as well, World Cup experience, big test match experience.

"Having a few senior players around will help the youngsters control their emotions."

The four Australians without final experience are 20-year-old leg spinner Steve Smith, left-arm pace bowler Dirk Nannes and Twenty20 specialists Dave Warner and David Hussey.

The other big difference between the two line-ups is that England`s features three South African-born players and an Irishman in their top five batsmen.

Collingwood is the only player born in England in that top order, a dominance by foreign born players that would be hard to imagine for an Australian team.

"Never say never," said Clarke with a grin when asked if such a scenario would be possible.

"I haven`t seen it yet in my career, though. But if you asked the guys playing in that England team if they`re proud to be a part of that side I`m certain they`d say yes."

"Kevin Pietersen`s got the Lions tattooed on his arms, so he`s obviously very proud of playing for England."

"Every single player in that England team will come out and try their best, as will we," said the Australia skipper.

Australia reached the final thanks to an astonishing comeback against Pakistan in St. Lucia on Friday and Clarke said rather than put that game aside, he wanted his team to remember what it showed about them.

"I don`t think I want the guys to forget that. I think that memory will stick in my mind for the rest of my career. It`s one of the most amazing games of cricket I`ve been involved in," he said.

"I think we need to understand and accept that game`s gone. But just keep in the back of your mind that what we showed the other day could happen out here as well."

Mike Hussey hit 60 off 24 balls as Australia hit 23 off the last over to win their semi-final against Pakistan in dramatic style, having looked out of the game.

"In our minds, we need to be very confident that we`re never out of the game, we always have a chance," he said.

"There will certainly be tough times in the game tomorrow. We`re going to be under pressure, not be getting as many wickets as we`d like or as many runs off a certain over or certain bowler."

"But the acceptance is that, with our team, we can chase whatever total, or bowl a team out for what we need," he said.

Clarke said though that he was under no illusions that his team would need to be at their very best against England.

"England are a very good team, they have shown that in this tournament they have beaten a lot of good teams and will be tough to beat tomorrow," he said.

Bureau Report


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